• Faf: We need a big total

    Faf du Plessis says South Africa’s goal will be to bat as long as possible on day four and make the English bowlers tired.

    The deficit is still 276, but South Africa (353-3) have a chance of forcing a draw after losing only one wicket on day three.

    On the batting performance
    Faf: ‘We needed a real resilient performance to try and get back in the game after England posted 629 on day two. We didn’t score as quickly as England did obviously but for us it was really just to get back in the Test match. To lose one wicket in a day is an extremely good effort from the batting unit.
    ‘The way we batted today was massively important in the context of the series as well. We didn’t bowl as good in the first innings as we would have liked and England played extremely well. They took our bowlers on and put them under pressure. There a lot of lessons for our young bowling attack in that.

    On Amla’s innings
    ‘I’m really proud of Hash. To get a big score like he did today; we as a team are extremely proud of him.’

    On day four
    ‘If we can bat well tomorrow and make the English bowling attack tired that will be a big win for us mentally.’

    On his own performance
    ‘It was nice to spend some time in the middle again and get my confidence back. But it’s really important for me to also try and out a big score on the board. When you are looking for runs fifties and forties doesn’t make a big difference. You have to make sure you cash in big so that will be my goal.’

    On turning the corner
    ‘We are definitely not a team that will sit here and say everything has changed; we are on top of the wave again. We know there is a lot of hard work still to be done. Consistency in batting is what we have achieved as a Test team for a period of time so the only way we are going to answer the critics is to be consistent. We also have a few young guys and it’s unfair to expect the world from them. They are new to Test cricket and they have to learn.’

    On the rest of the Test
    ‘With England scoring such a big score in the first innings and the rate at which they did, it put us under a lot of pressure. We’ll probably look to bat at about three runs an over. The English bowling attack is very experienced so you have to acknowledge that. Our plan will be to bat as long as possible.

    On a possible draw
    ‘Ideally being 1-0 down in a series you would like to push for a win, but I think mentally more than anything it’s important for us to get back in the series and get big runs on the table. If we can get a real big total, that will give us a lot of confidence going into the rest of the series.’

    On the criticism of the team
    ‘We are a team that sets high standards for ourselves. The criticism that we’ve got from the media; we feel it as well because we are very disappointed in our own performances. The possibility of maybe giving a bit of leeway for a team that is young and inexperienced; that’s the ideal world, but you are never going to get the ideal world. This is professional sport. We want performances and so do the public so I think the criticism is fair.’

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